One of the questions that I am often asked is, “When I go out, what alcoholic drink should I have? What’s the best alcohol with PCOS? ‘It looks like you go out a lot, how do you stay in shape and control your PCOS?!’
The answer is yes, I do love to go out with my friends and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know how much I preach that life is about balance and we are put on this planet to enjoy ourselves. It’s not to be on a strict diet weighing out your food, hating yourself in the mirror and generally being miserable.
So, what drink should you choose on the menu? With 80% of us having insulin resistance, sugary cocktails are first on the list to stay away from. Some of these cheeky beverages can have up to 10 teaspoons of sugar, plus syrups which are packed of nasty sweeteners. Not only this, we do need to consider being in a calorie deficit when we are on a weight loss journey. Cocktails can be incredibly calorie dense, and if consume several on a night plus a nice meal, they will certainly add up!
Let me put it into perspective for you. These are some classic favourite cocktails with the rough estimate of calories in each…
Strawberry Daiquiri = 350 calories
Mojito – 242 calories
Long Island Iced tea – 780 calories
Pina Colada – 644 calories
Margarita – 740 calories
White Russian – 425 calories
Espresso Martini – 150 calories
Let’s say you were going out on a Friday night with the girls. You get all dolled up, feeling fresh and flirty and off for a night on the town. The ‘Fuck it’ attitude comes into play, which don’t worry I have experienced many a time before! The problem is, if you are trying to lose weight a night like this can have a detrimental effect to your progress.
Let’s say you have the following and you pick something ‘healthy’ as you’re mindful you will be drinking a lot –
2 x Mojito – 242
1 x Pina Colada – 644
2 x glasses of wine – 200
Chicken Caesar salad – 450
Handful of French fries – 80
1 x Strawberry Daiquiri – 350
1 x Long Island Iced Tea – 780
1 x Espresso Martini – 150
That already is just under 3000 calories. Way above your BMR and Daily calorific intake. Remember women with PCOS can have a BMR of up to 40% lower than women without, so we really need to be extra careful.
We haven’t even considered when you get home drunk and start demolishing anything and everything in the fridge. Alcohol can obviously affect our mental state and lead us to make bad decisions, whether that’s texting your ex or scoffing your face with a pizza, we normally end up regretting it in the morning!
Firstly, we can make drink choices to literally half the calories and cut the sugar content to reduce our cravings. My recommendations would be prosecco, it’s very low in calories – about 70 per glass and has a low amount of sugar. If your bank account lets you, champagne is even better. No carbs and no sugar, PCOS’s best friend.
Cocktail wise, you can make some easy swaps. If you really need a fizzy drink, always go diet! Yes, it has artificial sweeteners that our ovaries hate, but if you have to pick one – stay away from full fat.
Vodka soda is the top of the list, but I know how bloody boring it can be. Squeeze a load of fresh lime and lemon into it or ask for a bit of cordial. If they have sugar free, even better! Elderflower is my go-to, you only need a teeny drop to give it a lovely refreshing taste.
Now onto wine. Wine can be dangerous as each bottle is different. Some are packed with hidden sugars and carbs, while others are incredibly light and low in calories. A Provence Rosé is not only delicious, but PCOS friendly. The only issue is, it can be incredibly easy to drink so just be careful you aren’t racing through the bottles. Keep a glass of water in front of you and take a few sips every now and again.
What about red wine? Recent research suggests that there is something in red wine that might help manage your PCOS hormones. Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant which occurs naturally in foods such as peanuts, grapes, blueberries and red wine.
In a recent study, they took 34 women with PCOS and split them into two groups – one was given a resveratrol supplement while the other had a placebo. All the women were match in terms of BMI, Testosterone, Insulin and glucose.
The results were very impressive – there was a significant drop in serum testosterone (23%!!) and much better insulin resistance. In fact, the researchers actually said they are comparable to metformin – the drug many are prescribed to help with insulin.
The only problem with the study, you need to be drinking A LOT of red wine to get the right amount of Resveratrol to see any affects.
My view of taking synthetic medication, is very apparent – to avoid it at all costs. Nutrition, exercise and lifestyle can be altered to treat your symptoms and overcome PCOS.
Ever thought I’d be promoting to have a glass of red wine a day?! Pretty cool coach right here if you ask me. There are also a lot of other benefits from red wine so to include it in your diet some evenings is fine.
Alcohol and PCOS – the final verdict? Life is to be enjoyed, so go out with the girls, go on that date but drink in moderation. Choose your drinks wisely to help your PCOS symptoms (and save a hangover too!). Drink water throughout the night and be careful not to overindulge in your food options. And if you do? Limit yourself the next day and dose up on all the green goodness.
It would also be completely irresponsible of me to do an article on alcohol and PCOS without also giving you a word of caution. Excessive alcohol consumption everyday is not going to help you or your PCOS. Here are some helpful guidelines around alcohol consumption. Drink safe ladies!!
Any questions pop me a message. I love to hear from you